Russia's ties with India will not be diluted, asserts Putin

Sidesteps question on Kashmir, denies tight military relations with Pak
Report by: 
Agencies
St Petersburg
1 Jun 2017

President Vladimir Putin asserted today that Russia's "trust-based" relations with India -- which he described as one of its "closest friends" -- will not be diluted by Moscow's growing ties with Pakistan and other countries

During an interaction, Putin told news agency PTI that there is no other country in the world that Russia has "deep cooperation" in delicate areas such as missiles, and it benefits from cooperation with India. But at the same time, Putin sidestepped a question on Kashmir, and said "it is up to you" to assess whether Pakistan is fuelling terrorism in the Indian state. "But no matter where the threat comes, it is unacceptable and we will always support India in its fight against terrorism," he added. The Russian President further said that just because Russia has a "special relationship" with India, it means India should be restricted in having contacts with other "partnering countries. This is ridiculous."

"We do not have any tight (military) relations with Pakistan. The US, do you have (close relations)," he said, speaking through an interpreter. "And for sure our relations with Pakistan have no impact on trade between India and Russia." Sitting around a rectangular table with a select group of global news agency editors, the 64-year-old Russian leader took questions one by one on subjects related not only of interest to the editors' countries but also of wider global concerns such as Syria, US President Donald Trump and the future of an emerging multi-polar world. "India is a huge country of more than 1 billion population. Russia is also a huge country. Both Russia and India have a lot of context and mutual interests. We are respectful toward all Indian interests," he said, citing the deep defence relations between the two countries.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Russian President, he stuck a very personal chord when he recalled how the Russian President's brother was among several family members who had laid down their lives for the country. Modi in his opening remarks mentioned his visit to the Piskariovskoye Cemetery where over 5 lakh victims of World War II and the 900-day siege of Leningrad are buried. Looking at Putin, he said, "you are a political leader whose family has made sacrifices" for the glory of Russia.
"Your brother was martyred," he said, referring to Putin's brother Viktor who died more than 70 years ago during the siege of Leningrad.

The Prime Minister today paid floral tributes to the victims of the World War II at the historic Piskarevskoe Memorial Cemetery in St Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia.